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Yoga Focuses On “Tension” (But Not In The Sense Of Stress Or Tightness)

I am not an abiding believer in the power of yoga but today I went and, as usual, Danielle’s focus was on “tension”.

What I think is so fascinating and fun in her class is that she doesn’t get religious about yoga. It’s much more a workout and stretching; her concept of practice really is valuing the repetition and consciously attending to what goes on during the practice of contorting into a new and uncomfortable position, and then trying to breathe.

Danielle instructs us to pay attention to the tension that you get in your arms or in your side when you’re trying to reach a certain posture… just to notice when my body doesn’t want to do what she asks us to do and notice when the muscles won’t stretch or I get very shaky at a certain position. She wants us always to be working on tensions – pushing some part of the posture until the body resists, and then to stay right there.  There isn’t a right way to feel, and she consistently asks that we move until there is resistance.

That is exactly the same thing asked of you: in treatment, in therapy, in being accountable in your life.  To find the level of tension that you can tolerate, respect that you are there, consciously, to notice it and then to really explore it.


Patrick Logan, MS is a former wilderness therapy program manager and IT consults with programs and websites.